5 June update: Blimey. This morning, the hugely respected New York Times editor Howell Raines resigned, along with managing editor Gerald Boyd because of the Jayson Blair saga. As everyone says "pressure had been building" for Raines to quit for a while.
That pressure was mostly from other newspapers who have been loving every minute of this. However, it's fair to say that NYT staff were not exactly happy either. How true it is that Raines and Boyd personally overlooked Blair's errors and certainly how much they pushed him forward because he was black is open for discussion.
But facts don't tend to matter when something becomes widely perceived and with staff turning against Raines for not doing his job, and criticism of the proud paper continuing (not to mention Blair popping up and lashing at out everyone and anything) it seems someone had to go.
We can certainly assume that Raines went over the front page of the paper - where Blair's stories occasionally appeared - and if he was indisposed, it would have been Boyd's job (who would also have covered the other pages), so they should have noticed something. If they did and did nothing about it, well, then that is very sloppy. It seems incredible that such an experienced journalist as Rains would have made such basic errors.
Perhaps it's because the Times is so dear to him (he's been there since 1978) that his desire to make his baby the paper of record for the next generation by pushing a young, black, charismatic and talented journalist to the forefront clouded his judgement. Hopefully we will find out when the dust has settled a second time.
1 Jun 2004: A belated update on the ongoing NYT woes